Category Archive:

Blowing Off the Lot – the Hot Sellers

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Since we have identified the vehicles that have the longest days supply, we have been asked to show which vehicles have the shortest days supply. Which vehicles are so hot they just blow off the dealer’s lot? As with the slower moving vehicles where we arbitrarily cut off the days supply at 150 days, here we are using 50 days as the cut off point. The details are shown “below the fold”


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Acura RSX* Wins AutoPacific 2006 Ideal Vehicle Award for Sporty Cars:

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Owners of the Acura RSX gave it ratings strong enough to be the Ideal Sporty Car. RSX owners rated cargo space and comfort near ideal among Sporty Car Entries. *The Acura RSX also won AutoPacific’s 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for its category.
RSX must be something special among Sporty Cars. It won AutoPacific’s 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award and the Ideal Vehicle Award for its class. These awards come just at a time when Acura has announced they will be killing the RSX because it does not meet their brand image. Too cheap? Too sporty? Too small? Not luxurious enough?


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AutoPacific's 2006 Ideal Vehicle Awards Announced

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An “ideal” is defined as an excellent or perfect example. In the first Ideal Vehicle Awards, announced today by automotive research and consulting firm AutoPacific, owners rate their new 2006 model year cars and trucks by how closely they come to their ideal. The cars or trucks that owners would change the least are the most ideal.
Those carmakers that best understand their customers and create the vehicle their core buyer group desires has come closest to the ideal.
The top-rated vehicle and top-rated car is the Mercury Montego in the Large Car/Luxury Car category. In fact, Ford Motor Company sweeps the first three positions overall with the Ford Crown Victoria and Ford Five Hundred in second and third place. The top-rated truck is the Honda Odyssey Minivan.
The top-rated brand overall is Hyundai out-pointing Mercury and Lincoln for the most ideal vehicle honors.
Ford Motor Company and American Honda have three segment winners apiece. BMW and Hyundai have two each.
Of the sixteen Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) categories, Japanese brands have seven segment winners, American brands have four, European brands have three and Korean brands have two winners.
The top-rated product segment is Large Car/Luxury Car confirming that Americans continue to value large, comfortable cars suitable for suburban and highway cruising.
Top-rated 2006 Ideal Vehicle brand: Hyundai
Top-rated 2006 Ideal Product Segment: Large Car/Luxury Car
Top rated 2006 Ideal Vehicles by segment:
PASSENGER CARS:
Premium Luxury Car: Lexus LS
Entry Luxury Car: BMW 3-Series
Large Car/Luxury Car: Mercury Montego
Premium Mid-Size Car: Hyundai Sonata
Mid-Size Car: Mercury Milan
Image Compact Car: Toyota Prius
Compact Car: Ford Focus
Sports Car: Porsche 911
Sporty Car: Acura RSX
SUT, SUV, and MINIVAN:
Sport Utility Truck: Honda Ridgeline
Luxury Sport Utility: BMW X5
Large Sport Utility: GMC Yukon
Premium Mid-Size Sport Utility: Nissan Murano
Mid-Size Sport Utility: Hyundai Santa Fe
Compact Sport Utility: Subaru Forester
Minivan: Honda Odyssey
In addition to identifying segment winners, IVA also establishes numerical ideal vehicle ratings for virtually every passenger car and light truck (except pickups) in the United States market. This results from calculating owner input across 11 specific areas related to a vehicle’s exterior size, passenger roominess, cargo space, driver’s seat comfort, drivers seat visibility, interior technology, power, ease of getting in and out, interior storage compartments and tires and wheels. The 2006 ratings reflect input from buyers and lessees of new vehicles acquired September 2005 through January 2006. Pickup trucks are not incorporated because of numerous body styles included within each pickup line.


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Acura RSX Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Sporty Cars

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The Acura RSX is a small sporty coupe priced substantially below other Acura entries. This value, combined with a great powertrain and sports car like handling provide RSX owners with class-topping satisfaction. This satisfaction was communicated as the RSX won AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award in the ‘sporty car’ category. Interesting that this award comes soon after Acura management has announced that the RSX is being dropped.


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Acura Gives Peek at 2007 MDX SUV

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MD-X Concept and 2007 RDX Share Center Stage.
Acura used its time at the 2006 New York auto show to tease the journalists in the audience with a concept of its upcoming MD-X SUV and to formally introduce its 2007 RDX The RDX goes on sale in summer 2006 and the 2007 MDX goes on sale in fall 2006. VehicleVoice and AutoPacific contributors were on hand when the new Acura SUV lineup was first displayed. The RDX has been seen at several auto shows prior to New York, but this was the first glimpse we have had of the MDX.

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MD-X Concept
The new MDX goes on sale this fall with a more athletic and aggressive look, though there were several comments made that the rear three-quarter, with its sharply raked D-pillar, has more than a passing resemblance to the new Audi Q7. We’ll leave that to you to decide. The MDX was also developed on the theme of taking a sports sedan image and merging it with SUV interior volume and utility.
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We do know the MDX will continue to be offered only with a V6, and though its technical details were not revealed, it is reasonable to expect output to at least match the RL’s 290HP. The longer wheelbase and wider track of the concept will likely translate into production as well, though no official specifications were given. It will also get Acura’s Super Handling AWD system and at least as much standard equipment as the RDX. Track-tuned at the Nurburgring, Acura promises outstanding performance and handling characteristics.
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Acura Goes Racing

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Acura ALMS Race Car Enters Stage Left
Acura used its time at the 2006 New York auto show to formally introduce its 2007 RDX, which goes on sale in summer 2006; tease us with a near-production-but-still-concept version of the 2007 MDX (on sale in fall); and to announce it will enter into the American Le Mans Series in 2007. VehicleVoice and AutoPacific contributors were on hand when the racing engine roared to life on the stand.

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Following the overview and reveal of the two SUV products, which had been announced before the show, Acura surprised one and all with a racing car hidden off to the left side of the stage. The decision to go racing with the Acura brand follows Lexus and Audi fielding teams, and comes before the next-generation NSX. Though the NSX has been sold as a Honda outside of North America all of its long years, the Acura brand is going global and the NSX replacement will more likely wear the Acura badge world wide. Acura will use a 3.4L V8 for its LMP2 car and develop the chassis with Lola and Courage. Step two will be to build a LMP1 car and earn an invite to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France.
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Acura Shows Off 2007 RDX SUV

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2007 RDX Share Center Stage with MD-X Concept at New York
Acura used its time at the 2006 New York auto show to formally introduce its 2007 RDX, which goes on sale in summer 2006 and tease us with a near-production-but-still-concept version of the 2007 MDX (on sale in fall). VehicleVoice and AutoPacific contributors were on hand when the new Acura SUV lineup went on display.

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RDX Brings Acura a Small SUV
This vehicle comes to market wearing the name RDX, similar to the RD-X concept cars of 2005 and of 2002. At the 2006 Detroit auto show a near-production model was shown, followed by the production car at the 2006 New York auto show in April. Sales begin in summer 2006. The first two RD-X concepts explored the needs of what Acura calls active urban professionals, with the 2005 concept more realistic than the first. The 2006 Detroit concept was clearly the closest of all. The philosophy is to combine sports sedan performance with the utility of an SUV, in theory more akin to a smaller Infiniti FX than to a Toyota RAV4, and has the BMW X3 in its sights.


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Consumer Reports Top Ten Picks of the Year

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Every April, Consumer Reports publishes its Annual Auto Issue. This is the most widely read issue of Consumer Reports by far. There is information not only on new cars and trucks, but also on cars that have been in operation for years. VehicleVoice survey research and AutoPacific survey and focus group research concludes that Consumer Reports can have a significant impact on what cars and trucks an American driver may select. When asked what information sources a person uses when deciding what car to look at, Consumer Reports is often the first source mentioned.

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Consumer Reports has gone beyond simply reporting the results of the surveys of its subscribers. Now they weigh in editorially and even select a Top Ten. But those vehicles are those discussed in Consumer Reports’ press releases. When you delve deeper into the April 2006 issue itself, there are many more vehicles worthy of attention. But, first for the Top Ten, as determined by Consumer Reports:

Best Sedan Less Than $20,000: Honda Civic

Best Sedan $20,000 to $30,000: Honda Accord

Best Sedan $30,000 to $40,000: Acura TL

Best Luxury Sedan: Infiniti M35

Best SUV Less Than $30,000: Subaru Forester

Best SUV More Than $30,000: Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Best Pickup Truck: Honda Ridgeline

Best Minivan: Honda Odyssey

Best Green Car: Toyota Prius

Most Fun to Drive: Subaru Impreza WRX-STi

Yes, you are right. There are no American cars or trucks in the list. There are no European cars in the list. There are no Korean cars in the list. Japanese brands swept the 2006 Consumer Reports Top Ten. And of those Japanese brands, Honda (including Acura) got five of the Top Ten positions. This is the first time that Japanese brand vehicles have swept these awards.

There is consolation, of course, that the Hondas are at least assembled in the USA.

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Automotive Lease Guide Releases Residual Value Awards

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Automotive Lease Guide is an influential and closely watched barometer of the value of brands and vehicles in the USA. ALG’s data are used by leasing companies to set the values for vehicles two and three years in the future and are critical in determining what lease rates a lessee will pay.
While ALG’s Residual Value Awards are not of the ilk of Motor Trend, Automobile, Car & Driver enthusiast awards, they provide an interesting counterpoint to awards based test track measurements, zero to 60 times and seat of the pants opinions. Here is the text of the ALG release…

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ALG’s annual Residual Value Awards honor those vehicles in each automotive segment predicted to retain the highest percentage of their original price. For the third consecutive year, American Honda Motor Company, Inc. heads the list with the Honda Brand winning the Industry Brand Residual Value Award. Honda also received two individual segment awards: the Odyssey for the Minivan Segment and the Accord for the Midsize Car Segment. This is the fifth consecutive win for the Honda Odyssey and the second win for the Accord.
Acura, a division of American Honda Motor Company, Inc., is the winner of the Near Luxury Car Segment for the TL.
BMW of North America, LLC has once again made a strong showing by winning the Luxury Brand Residual Value Award for the third consecutive year. MINI USA, a division of BMW of North America, has won the Compact Car Segment for the MINI Cooper for the fourth time.
Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. took home the most Residual Value Awards this year by winning six individual segment awards: the Avalon for the Fullsize Car Segment, Tacoma Pick-up for the Compact Truck Segment, Tundra for the Fullsize Truck Segment, RAV4 for the Compact SUV Segment, 4Runner for the Midsize SUV Segment, and the Sequoia for the Fullsize SUV Segment. This is the fifth consecutive win for the Toyota Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia; and the third consecutive win for the 4Runner.
Mercedes-Benz USA LLC is the winner of this year’s Luxury Car Segment award for the CLS Class.
The Sports Car Segment award this year goes to Porsche Cars North America, Inc. for the 911 Carrera.
And last but not least, the CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle) award goes to Land Rover North America, Inc. for the Range Rover Sport.
“In an era of negative pricing and overcapacity, Residual Value excellence is increasingly difficult to achieve,” said Raj Sundaram, President of Automotive Lease Guide. “Both the segment and brand winners clearly demonstrate that quality products combined with effective pricing strategies will rise to the top.” Sundaram added that, “While the top rankings did not change, several brands have shown significant improvement over last year, highlighting the importance manufacturers are placing on residual value as a long-term objective.”
This year’s awards are based on 2006 model year vehicles. For the fourth year, ALG has also included awards for the brand with the highest predicted resale value of all industry and luxury vehicles. The awards are derived after careful study of segment competition, historical vehicle performance and
industry trends. Award winners are featured on http://www.alg.com, The Wall Street Journal, Automotive News, and other automotive publications and websites dedicated to bringing the industry’s best performing models into the
public eye.


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Car & Driver – 10Best Cars 2006

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Every year, Car & Driver, one of the high circulation car enthusiast magazines in the United States, publishes the results of its 10Best awards. The 2006 10Best Cars awards were released in the January 2006 issue of Car & Driver and you can find them on the C&D website at (http://www.caranddriver.com/article.asp?section_id=33&article_id=10354)
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Not having looked at the winners prior to writing this blog, VehicleVoice (http://www.vehiclevoice.com) staff conjectured about what types of cars Car & Driver would select.
We knew that, being a buff book, they’d select cars that appealed to the enthusiast, maybe throw one or two mundane winners into the mix, be heavy on import marques and generally favor smaller cars. Lets see how accurate we were?
BEST SPORTS SEDAN – Acura TSX
BEST SPORT COMPACT- Audi A3
BEST LUXURY SPORTS SEDAN – BMW 3-Series
BEST PERFORMANCE CAR – Chevrolet Corvette
BEST FULL SIZE SEDAN – Chrysler 300
BEST MUSCLE CAR – Ford Mustang GT
BEST FAMILY SEDAN – Honda Accord
BEST ROADSTER – Mazda MX-5 (Miata)
BEST SPORTS COUPE – Mazda RX-8
BEST LUXURY SPORTS CAR – Porsche Boxster
So, lets see, seven are import brands, 3 of the imports are from Germany and four are from Japan. Mazda picks up two wins with its sports cars.


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